A Refreshing Series of Urban Fantasy

Around the time of midterms this past semester, I started reading a series of books (perfect timing, right?). I blazed through the six released books in a few weeks and found myself spellbound by the wit and (generally) likeable characters, not to mention behind on studying for midterms, then finals as well. I’m talking about the Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs. Spoilers follow, but not overall plot-related ones.

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I remember seeing the cover of the first one several years ago, and as drawn to it as I was, I wrote it off as just another lame paranormal romance with nothing special about it. Yes, I realize her tattoos change on each cover, but let’s not sweat the details too much there. I’d been turned off by the Anita Blake series, which started out awesome and then just turned into a meaningless orgy (I’d say up through Narcissus in Chains is all you should bother reading). Ironically, the Anita Blake series was the one that turned me off of werewolves as well… I mean, I’m up for a gratuitous romance every once in a while just like the next girl, but it wasn’t really something I was looking for at the time.

I took another look at the cover of Moon Called and decided it was time to pick it up. Or buy it on my Nook (way more convenient). The whole thought of a coyote shifter was actually pretty interesting to me, given how into Coyote lore I’ve been lately (thank you Gunnerkrigg Court). Mercy has just the right of snark and just the right amount of realism to keep me both entertained and sympathetic. My favorite thing about Mercy is not her quirky career as a mechanic or her ability to shape shift or anything like that. Rather, I admire, respect, and even value the fear Mercy has no problem admitting to. Paranormal shit is scary, guys. Werewolves are not cuddly, fae do eat people, and vampires want nothing more than to use humans as cattle. My appreciation for her fear was really solidified during a scene with one of the vampires (a kid vampire no less) that would have scared the pants off of me as well. I’d have run out of that house as fast I could have too.

I always really like it when authors inject some actual authenticity into their characters. It makes them not only likeable, but also easier to read. I’m not saying Mercy isn’t without her irritating character flaws, but rather that she is a character that has multiple layers of interest that are appealing to me.

Whether or not I like a book is dependent largely on the characters. The plot can be a tad shaky (which is most definitely the case in some of these books), but without decent, solid characters, an author is basically dead to me. I’d say the only character I’m on the verge of disliking is Stefan… which is odd because I generally like vampires more than I do werewolves (and I don’t think there are any werewolves I don’t like as characters). With Stefan, I can’t seem to get a handle on him. If he quirky and loveable? Is he secretive and plotting? Does he have emotions or not? He’s obviously a really conflicted character, but I think the confusion in his portrayal is somewhat over the top. I mean, if I met Stefan, I’d probably like him, he seems like a cool dude, but reading about him can be difficult.

The more I read about the fae, the more I want to learn about them. In Iron Kissed and Silver Borne especially there was quite a bit of fae lore (what with the fairy queen and all), which was really enjoyable. Every time Zee drops his glamour, I get excited and hope that maybe this time, maybe, I’ll get to learn more about his history. But alas. Hopefully that back story is coming.

As a warning, Iron Kissed (#3) is intense, and not exactly in a good way. It’s hard to read about rape in any situation, but in a fantasy novel, it’s surreal and very unsettling. Again, just be warned. Overall, it was a good book, but it was my least favorite so far.

River Marked was really amazing and I can’t wait for the next one! Long story short, I recommend you pick up Moon Called, and see if you like it too.

 

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2 Comments

  1. Book Series Review of Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson Novels | thelissachronicles
  2. Blood Bound – Patricia Briggs « Stewartry

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